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Tour de couch

Pick a 30 minute window during the race which you will dedicate to working, grab a glass of water, settle in to your favourite chair and get ready to feel the burn.

I am a freelance journalist dedicated to travelling and keeping fit and healthy. A tragic (but proud) cat lady, I believe in the importance of staying strong, active and healthy in the most practical ways possible. I’m also committed to laughing every day, even if that means at myself…which is usually the case. Robyn Box

Admit it – you sat up last night to watch Tour de France. All tucked under your doona, drinking coffee, eating chocolate and wistfully dreaming of riding a bike through the French countryside. If you’re anything like me you were Googling flights to France in the ad breaks and exclaiming to your partner, friend, dog, mother or whoever would listen that ‘we should go there! I love terracotta roofs!’ Yes? Yes, I thought so. 

What I bet you weren’t doing, though, was taking advantage of the ‘Tour de Couch’ workout opportunities that presented themselves. Mainly because I haven’t told you about them yet. Bear with me.

Now, unless you’re some sort of super hero, chances are you don’t get to the gym as much as you’d like. And now the frosty weather has descended upon us it’s fair to say we’re not walking the dog as much either. So here’s what I suggest: we take on these cycling mad men and feel the burn with them.

Before you argue, no – you don’t need a bike. In fact, the Tour de Couch has been designed for those who don’t have any exercise equipment, because even though most of us have at some point gone out and bought dumb bells, a fitness ball or a stretching mat, you would be fibbing ever so slightly if you said you used it as much as you should. For example, my dumb bells are currently jammed up against the bedroom door to keep it closed properly. Not quite my intent when I initially bought them.

According to bicycling.com, Tour cyclists burn around 4,500 calories in each stage (not including the 2,000ish they need to just function like a semi-normal human).  We’re not going to do that, either. Mainly because we’re not totally insane.

But here’s what we will do: set exercises for set times during the Tour de France TV coverage. Pick a 30 minute window during the race which you will dedicate to working, grab a glass of water, settle in to your favourite chair and get ready to feel the burn. You can choose whatever exercises you like depending on your ability. Here’s a list of ‘triggers’ and complimenting exercises to get you started:

Is the peloton entering a hill climb? Hit the floor – you’ll be doing sit ups until they get to the top, my friend

Is it a sprint section in the race? Time to get the heart pumping! Get up and jog on the spot – I want those knees up, knees up, knees up!  Stop when they stop, and not a second before.

See a vineyard? Grab two unopened bottles of wine and give me 10 bicep curls each arm. It’s France after all - wine is mandatory.

Has the camera moved off the race and onto some local sightseeing? Get up and give me squats. And not just a few – you will squat until they cut back to the race. Bam!

Have they cut to an ad break? It’s time to hit the floor and stretch. Stretch until the coverage returns, assume your position and get ready for your next ‘trigger’.

You won’t burn thousands of calories, but you will burn some, and after about half an hour you’ll feel it. After three weeks of watching the Tour and eating well chances are you’ll see it, too. Best thing? You just did your recommended 30 minute workout all while watching TV, dreaming of France, not leaving your house… and you’re still in your PJs.

Ladies and gents, welcome to Tour de Couch.

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